Fly fishing on a river on a summers evening

Here in Michigan, we have the Great Lakes and many beautiful inland lakes, but what about the amazing rivers in the state? Over Memorial Day weekend, I went on a pontoon ride down the Grand River. It was so perfect outside, and watching the water ripple as the boat moved along was very relaxing. I had to watch getting sunburned, though. It’s so much easier to get burned on the water than on land.

Canoeing, kayaking and fishing are very popular activities in Michigan along our rivers. But, even if you don’t do either of those, just laying by a river on a warm, summer day can be fun. There are plenty of rivers that run through our cities, too, so chances are one is just a short drive away.

You know what else is great to do in the summer? Set up a picnic right by a river. Sure you might have to chase some mosquitos away, but laying on a blanket and having a picnic on the edge of a river is a very special activity.

Read on for 10 of the best rivers in Michigan. These are my personal picks, and I’m sure I left out some great ones. Reach out to me on social media with your top choices.

Best Rivers in Michigan

  • 10. Jordan River

    The Jordan River flows through the Jordan Valley, and it’s really beautiful. People who love to fish trout will find lots in this river. It’s also a very clear river, making it a beautiful spot for a picnic, and a moderately calm river, so it’s good for canoeing.

    Jordan River

    Address Jordan River, Michigan, USA The largest tributary to Lake Charlevoix, the Jordan River is a gem to northern Michigan fly fishing. Renowned for being the first river to be designated 'wild and scenic' under the State of Michigan's Natural Rivers Act in 1972, the river is a beautiful escape from the ordinary.

  • 9. Rifle River

    Rifle River is a shallow river, so it’s perfect for families. This river is located in the northeastern Lower Peninsula. It’s always a popular spot in the summer months.

    Rifle River Recreation Area

    Rifle River Recreation Area provides year-round recreation opportunities, including fishing, paddling, camping, swimming, hiking, mountain biking and more. The park is home to 10 no-wake lakes and ponds, including Grousehaven and Devoe, the Rifle River and several scenic streams. There is an observation tower located along Ridge Road overlooking many of the parks features and a swinging (suspension) bridge across the Rifle River.

  • 8. Big Manistee River

    The Big Manistee River is actually part of the National Wild and Scenic River system because of its clean water and forests. This spot is also known for picturesque views. It’s a must-see spot for any nature lover.

    Big Manistee River - Manistee County Tourism - Manistee, Michigan

    This river is wide and smooth flowing. Some parts have tighter navigation and fast switchbacks which may take you a little off guard, but this is a great river for the casual paddler. You will also find an abundance of rope swings and great sand bars at which to stop and socialize.

  • 7. Boardman River

    Like the Jordan River, the Boardman is another great spot for trout fishing. The river runs a little over 28 miles and drains into the Grand Traverse Bay. Several other fish are also easy to find in this spot, including smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleye.

    The Boardman River

    The Boardman River is a gem when one considers its proximity to Traverse City. Starting as two rivers, the North and South Branches near the villages of Kalkaska and South Boardman, they merge and become one, flow north and eventually drain into West Grand Traverse Bay.

  • 6. Huron River

    The Huron River goes through so many cities and towns, including Ann Arbor, Detroit and beyond. There’s something special about the nature feel of a river running through a bustling city. There are also good camping and picnic areas around this river.

    Welcome to the Huron River Water Trail! - Huron River National Water Trail

    The Huron River Water Trail is a 104-mile (167 km) inland paddling trail connecting people to the river's natural environment, its history and the communities it touches in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. From the rapids at Delhi and Dexter to the placid flat water at the entrance to Lake Erie, a variety of paddling experiences await you.

  • 5. Grand River

    The Grand River runs along the southwestern portion of the southern peninsula of Michigan and flows into Lake Michigan. It’s actually the longest river in Michigan and runs 252 miles. I’ve been on this river many times, and it’s a favorite.

    The Grand River

    The Grand River is a Michigan favorite.

  • 4. Detroit River

    The Detroit River runs about 24 miles west and south, from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. It’s also a strait in the Great Lakes system. The river is right between Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario. It’s a landmark of the Motor City.

    Detroit River -

    Detroit River urbanization and the river In the early 1900s, Detroit became one of the largest cities in the United States, and the Detroit River played a major role. The river is 28 miles long and serves as the international border between Canada and the United States, connecting Lake St.

  • 3. Pine River

    Pine River offers exquisite views, as it flows through the Manistee National Forest. This is also a popular river for camping, and you’ll find campgrounds all along the banks.

    Pine River Campground, Canoe, Kayaking on the Pine River and Manistee - Michigan

    PRPC has a beautiful campground next to the Pine River and has the most extensive stock of canoes, kayaks, and raft rentals for trips on Michigan's Pine River and Manistee River. Perfect for paddle sport enthusiasts and families. Book online today!

  • 2. Platte River

    The Platte River runs through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Northern Michigan and goes into Lake Michigan. It has a very gentle current, which is good for a variety of activities. There is lots of greenery around this river, too, making it lovely.

    About the Platte River in Michigan - Riverside Canoes

    The Platte River wanders for nearly 30 miles across beautiful northwest lower Michigan, from its origin in Long Lake in Grand Traverse County to the mouth at Lake Michigan inside Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Benzie County. The Platte River is creek fed and surrounded by wetlands through much of the journey, passing through 10 lakes before emptying into ourgreat lakes.

  • 1. Au Sable River

    The Au Sable River runs a whopping 138 miles through the towns of Grayling and Mio. It runs into Lake Huron at Oscoda. This is another prized spot for trout fishing and was even named a blue ribbon trout stream by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

    Au Sable

    The Au Sable River runs approximately 130 miles through the northern Lower Peninsula, through the towns of Grayling and Mio and enters Lake Huron at Au Sable. Spend the day fishing, canoeing, tubing, having a picnic. We take you around the Au Sable to find out what it's like to call it home.

Sign me up for the 105.9 KISS FM email newsletter!

Stay connected to all things 105.9 KISS-FM and join the KISS Club! As a KISS Club member, you get a VIP chance to win prizes, concert tickets, and receive updates on the latest happenings in Detroit.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.